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MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a fragmented region: in spite of its relative cultural and historical homogeneity, it has some of the lowest levels of intra-regional trade, political cooperation and legal migration in the world. This is largely due to the fact that, since the end of the Second World War, it has experienced the full spectrum of political violence. Conventional, hybrid, and civil wars, revolutions, and terrorism have hindered political and economic development, and created fertile ground for further violence. Breaking this ‘conflict trap’ is imperative for the states of the region, as well as those actors who have a stake in it.

For the EU, the MENA is of strategic importance for three reasons: it is an immediate geographic neighbour, a crucial passage for goods traveling to and from Europe (including oil), and it is notoriously unstable. The region’s security and economic situation is consequently closely intertwined with that of Europe. This explains the Union’s desire to contribute to regional stability through different means such as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Barcelona Process and the Union for the Mediterranean. The EUISS seeks to contribute to the EU’s overall effort in the MENA by providing in-depth analyses on a number of key issues affecting the region.

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    24June 2013

    With the security situation in Libya rapidly spiralling out of control, this brief analyses the challenges faced by the country in its attempts to establish an effective internal security apparatus since the fall of Qaddafi, the dangers of the current security vacuum and the difficulties in disbanding and reintegrating the plethora of powerful militia groups.

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    24June 2013

    In recognition of a centenary of Arabism, this alert explores the historical notions of a political union between Arab states and demonstrates, despite the geopolitical antagonisms of the MENA region and the rise of Islamism, that this unifying force is not yet dead.

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    17June 2013

    The election of Hassan Rouhani has confirmed the vibrancy and necessity of the electoral process in Iran. But if the new president-elect is to now embark on a course correction of Iranian politics, he will have to contend with formidable and complicated elements within the state structure: the security establishment, a parliament dominated by various conservative factions, and the supreme leader himself.

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    03June 2013

    This brief explores the presidential campaign underway in Iran, examining the chosen candidates and the internal power struggles of a divided country and highlighting how the tight control of the electoral process is posing a serious challenge the regime’s own commitment to the notion of popular sovereignty.

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    03June 2013

    Whilst Lebanon has long faced a multitude of challenges, the inability to agree on necessary electoral law reform has resulted in parliament extending its own term, further undermining the democratic process and leaving the country unable to adequately address the spillover of the crisis in neighbouring Syria.

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    22May 2013

    On 7 May, Russia and the US agreed to host a conference with an aim to settling the Syrian crisis. This alert examines the agenda, participants and potential ourcomes of meeting that may well lead to the implementation of a credible and lasting ceasefire.

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    26March 2013

    On 19 March 2013 a serious allegation was made concerning the use of chemical weapons near Aleppo. In this context, how could the EU play a role that would assist not only the potential victims of chemical attacks but also the process of eliminating all non-conventional weapons in the Middle East?

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    26March 2013

    Two years after the revolution, the Tunisian transition is in dire need of new momentum. Bogged down in endless discussions about secularism and Islamist ideologies, the government needs to address the fundamental demands of ordinary Tunisians: democracy, economic dignity, and freedom.

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    19March 2013

    Deux ans après les événements qui ont conduit à la chute du régime de Ben Ali, la crise sociale et gouvernementale actuelle amène à poser la question de l’irréversibilité de la révolution tunisienne. Quelles étaient ses demandes ? Quelles réformes substantielles le gouvernement doit-il encore mettre en œuvre pour garantir une rupture définitive avec le passé ?

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    30October 2012

    In recent years, non-state actors (NSAs) have become an important part of the EU’s policy-making process regarding the conflict. This paper examines a group of actors that, although under-researched, play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of EU external policy.

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    18November 2011

    This publication examines the current context and future prospects in Egypt ahead of the first round of parliamentary elections in November, with special attention to the role and position of the Muslim Brotherhood. The contributors examine the various options, opportunities and challenges facing both domestic and external actors with regard to the country’s future and the Muslim Brotherhood’s political trajectory.

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    15November 2011

    The Arab democratic wave has not had an effect on Africa as much as some had hoped. But the situation on the other side of the Sahara is more nuanced. Here, the author explores several scenarios where sub-Saharan African nations may face crucial turning points.

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    24August 2011

    As the 42-year dictatorship in Libya nears its end, it is important we get it right in dealing with the post-Gaddafi era as the process moves, in all likelihood, from military confrontation to democratic transition. A democratic Libya is an important new driving force in the Arab democratic wave. It builds on the growing momentum created by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, making it increasingly more difficult for authoritarian leaders in North Africa and the Middle East to sustain their policies. With hope, Bashar Assad realises this.

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    16August 2011

    The West cannot be neutral over Syria. Hesitating and a lack of clarity is making the process of change take longer and become much more costly.

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    09June 2011

    The very public disagreement between Iran’s Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, over the sacking of Intelligence Minister, Heydar Moslehi, has catapulted the conservatives who currently control all the major institutions of the Islamic Republic into an acrimonious tailspin.

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    27May 2011

    Quand les prémices de la première révolution arabe sont apparues en Tunisie, il y avait déjà un certain moment que l’Egypte allait mal. Non pas à cause des conséquences de la crise financière qui a touché le monde en 2008, mais plutôt parce que le mécontentement général régnait bien avant cette crise.

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    26May 2011

    La révolution tunisienne, aggravée par la crise libyenne, a de graves conséquences pour l’économie tunisienne. On prévoit qu’à la fin de 2011, les chômeurs seront plus de 700 000, taux jamais atteint en Tunisie depuis son indépendance. Les tensions sociales vont probablement s’accroître, alors que les besoins à moyen et à long termes sont gigantesques au vu des ambitions de la révolution et de la nouvelle Tunisie en construction. Des mesures urgentes et à effet immédiat peuvent et doivent être proposées et mises en place.

  • Palestinian reconciliation: a step towards peace and democracy
    05May 2011

    Hamas and Fatah's reconciliation is a crucial step towards peace and democracy. Without it, no agreement on the creation of a Palestinian state has any chance of success. The author explores why.

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    04May 2011

    To date, the Bahraini uprising has resulted in nothing but a return to martial law and the possible end of the participative experiment. This failure was predictable. At least three reasons can be put forward. First, the protestors were divided about the aim of the movement, so al-Wifaq’s attempts to engage in dialogue with the regime were sabotaged by the hard-liners of al-Haqq and al-Wafa. The main loser of the uprising is al-Wifaq, whose efforts to transform into a party that collaborates with the government have been nullified.

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    28April 2011

    The West needs to return to the drawing board over its dysfunctional relationship with Iran. The author argues that there is no convincing evidence of a link between the negative impact of sanctions on the Iranian economy and an inducement of popular discontent and a change in nuclear policy.

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